Both the Windermere High baseball and softball teams have worked toward their respective goals the entire season and are seeing the hard work pay off, as the boys are currently ranked No. 5 in the Florida 7A region and the girls are ranked No. 3 in the Florida 7A region.
The Windermere High School varsity baseball team enjoyed a successful season but saw it come to an abrupt end Tuesday, May 16, after losing to Plant High 1-0 during the regional championship game.
“I’m just really proud of the guys because, obviously, we lost some big pieces (last year) by losing Simon Sobellia on the mound, Gustavo Mendez behind the plate and, obviously, Blake Cyr at the shortstop,” head baseball coach Eric Lassiter said. “The question mark was how we would fill those holes both in the offense and on the mound. But our guys have really responded and have had a really good year, and they’ve kind of come together as a team. We are excited to get another chance, especially those returners, because they were here last year and got to see what that defeat was like, so we are just excited for the opportunity to get out there once again and see what happens once the game unfolds.”
Currently, the Wolverines own a 25-3-1 overall season record and a 10-game winning streak. They believe heading into practice with a game-time mentality has provided a huge advantage this season.
“I think we’ve done a really good job in staying focused at practice even during the cut things that are not necessarily the fun parts of baseball,” Lassiter said. “Going over bunt defense or first and third or pick-ups or run-downs, just focus on everything that we do because any given game can be a different situation that causes you to win or lose.”
Collectively, the Wolverines currently have a .312 batting average, have scored 288 runs this season by capitalizing on the 237 hits that the boys have connected during the games, and have accumulated 236 RBIs through the season.
“I really like the depth of our lineup, (which) probably has been better this year than last year one to nine in the batting order,” Lassiter said. “So, just again us sticking to our plan and staying in our zone and being ready to hit and working together as a team after at bats, working on what we are seeing as an offense so that we can make adjustments during the game. That’s what we need to continue to do, and our pitchers have done a nice job throwing strikes trying to get early contact and giving our offense a chance to take over the games.”
The Windermere High School varsity softball team has had a season to remember.
The girls defeated Sarasota High School 10-0 during the regional semifinal game Tuesday, May 16, advancing to the regional championship game.
“In all honesty, this is a great team,” head softball coach Eileen Hannigan said. “There is a tremendous chemistry and they really play for each other. They are really excited about being in the field with each other, supporting each other. So, it’s top to bottom a full team effort.”
The girls currently own a 23-3 overall season record and are ranked No. 3 in the Florida Class 7A region — just behind Lake Brantley and Plant High School.
“We are a great team, one through 17,” Hannigan said. “There are 17 girls in this team, and everybody is playing an equal part in our success. It’s not just one or two players, and that’s the beauty of it — that they really believe in each other and believe the support they give each other to be successful. And that’s why you are seeing what you are seeing. It’s fun to watch (them play), and they are a special group. And as a coach I think my job is to kind of get out of the way, give them the information and the tools, and let them do them.”
This is the second year the team has had the majority of the current Lady Wolverines play together and the second season the girls have continued to make a name for themselves every time they step onto the softball field.
“They are a strong team, they’ve had a great year so far and … we are looking forward to a great game,” Hannigan said. “If we do what we are supposed to do — I like the chances — but that’s why we are playing the game. We have to play seven hard, and that’s our plan, come out and play every inning hard. I am a lucky coach to be able to have such wonderful athletes and I don’t take that for granted any day.”
Windermere is set to travel to Plant High, where the Lady Wolverines will play the Lady Panthers at 4:30 p.m. Friday, May 19, for the regional championship title.
Staff writer Andrea Mujica covers sports, news and features. She holds both a bachelor's degree in journalism and an MBA from the University of Central Florida. When she’s not on the sidelines, you can find Andrea coaching rowers at the Orlando Area Rowing Society in Windermere.